Back Strengthening Exercises

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Total Gym Lower-Back Exercises

The muscles located on the backside of the body play a critical role in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. These muscles are an important component in athletic performance, proper body alignment, posture, and living a pain free lifestyle. It would be an understatement to say these muscles are not worked enough, considering their importance in our lives.

The lumbar region of your spine supports the majority of your body. Having a strong spine and well supported musculature frame posteriorly is critical to reducing the stresses placed on the lower-back and pelvis during actives as well as at rest. Often people neglect exercising this area of the body despite its importance.

Many people will suffer from some sort of weakness in the back. These can be a result of a specific injury, persistent weakness, or bad habits. Pain can be triggered by some combination of overuse, muscle strain, or an injury to the supporting muscles, ligaments, and discs of the spine. If a muscle injury has not been managed correctly, it could lead to overall instability and misalignment of the spine, making the back more prone to future injury or re-injury. Strengthening the supporting muscles of the whole posterior chain and core is the key to preventing injury and keeping the spine healthy.

Benefits of Back Strengthening

There are so many reasons to focus on strengthening the back side of the body. Some of these benefits include:
• Support for the spinal column
• Proper posture & spinal alignment
• Reduce & prevent lower-back pain
• Improve mobility & range of motion
• Improve endurance & support during rigorous activity
• Aids in extension, flexion, & rotation
• Restores balance of the spine
• Physically looks attractive & shapes the waistline
• Feel better in daily activities

Back Strengthening Goals

The goal when training the lower-back is to build endurance, strength, flexibility, as well as develop greater mobility to the surrounding muscles of the spine. Many back exercises can help strengthen the spinal column and the supporting muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These exercises not only focus on the back, but also involve the shoulder girdle, abdominals, glutes, and hip muscles. Therefore, lower-back exercises can be performed daily to increase strength and minimize weakness. In addition, this is an area of the body that everyone else gets to look at when you walk away!

The Lowe-Back Workout

This is a great routine that will help strengthen the muscles supporting the spine. This workout can be done in a circuit format everyday or performed 2-3xs per week. Perform each exercise 10-15xs, and then proceed to the next exercise without rest until the circuit of the exercises is complete. Repeat the circuit routine 2-3xs through. Be sure to change up the sequence of the exercises, the number of reps, the level of resistance, and add in a few other exercises for a challenge and variety.
Try the following lower-back exercises to strengthen, tone, and prevent injury to your spine. (View the accompanying video to see how the exercises are performed.)

Back Strengthening Exercises:

*Incline 5-8
1. Pull-ups (lats)
2. Single arm pull-ups (lats/core)
3. Lower-back extensions & rotations (lower-back extensors and rotators)
*Incline 2-5 (or higher depending on strength level)
4. Surfer pull with extension (lats, rhomboids, core)
5. Alternating high elbow rows with rotation; kneeling or high kneeling (lats, rhomboids, rotators of spine)
6. Single knee, 1 arm row & rotate (lats, rotators, hips, core)
*Incline 2-4 (or higher depending on strength level)
7. Prone snow angel (back extensors, lats, hips, core)

Back Stretches:

Child’s pose- lengthen arms to the front
Sides of lower-back – lengthen arms to feel the stretch from the arm down to the opposite hip.

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Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Masters Degree in Performance Enhancement/ Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a free lance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, news letters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work.
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By Maria Sollon | Last updated: 10:00 am
  • Total Gym Direct

    Hello – I’m not sure what you mean by hyperextensions.
    Flexion, extension, and rotation exercises for lower back strength are
    very important and should be done at each person’s level of strength,
    flexibility, and endurance. That being said, some people have more
    flexion/extension (which can be termed hyperextension) of their spine than
    others. Developing muscle strength, length, mobility, and flexibility of
    the spine can be worked at an individual’s personal ability. I hope this
    answers your question.

  • Lalita Powar

    Nice useful article. It is very important to take a proper care of spine as once back pain gets chronic it is very difficult to cure it.

    Found this article of yoga poses for pack pain http://www.artofliving.org/in-en/yoga/health-and-wellness/yoga-back-pain

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